TA112 (Müller)



Commentary 6 (to R4)




by Harwood Fisher

3 March 2009, posted 7 March 2009


[  Reply is marked HF REPLY to HFJM  ]



[HF C5 <2>] Pragmatically structured or not, they are structured.  The term 'pragmatic' just 'kicks the can down the road.' 



But structured by whom?   The ‘pragmatic’ is an original aspect of the results of subject-inclusive structuring;   non-pragmatic (i.e., absolute) properties can only be had in subject-exclusive ontology-views (the neo-metaphysicists call them  ‘dispositions’, which they claim are fundamental;  see discussion to TA110).   In 0-D, the question of  ‘regress to pragmatics’ <3> does therefore not come up.     ‘Endless regress’ <2> too is a question only in non-functional metaphysical questions;  it means an erroneous search for ontological ‘causes’.   (Within objective physical systems such questions can to some extent be valid (i.e., functional);   for instance massive black holes hold galaxies together and may be said to be the ‘cause’ of the configuration of the galaxies;  but all of this is structured within human experience.)




To ask 'who' (or ‘by whom’) starts a form limiting to the individual's thinking — which itself is limited — is also 'kicking the can down the road' To deny that the individual's organismic form limits the nature — process and outcome — of thought leads to a logical mess.  Thus, if there is no non-self;  then, the 'self-contained entity' of the individual's experience is no longer self-contained. 


Now, regarding a posit of the 'non-self'; we encounter the problem of ontology:  That is, there are two doors to choose::


Door number 1: This door leads to the 'outside.'  If you accept the idea that in explaining thought and its contents, there should be an account of an ontological principle, then the 'non-self' would  include that which lies outside the individual's subjective experience.  Even Kant, with all the doubts and ifs ands and buts, would reason that way. 


Door number 2:  This door revolves, leaving you inside.  If you want to leave the matter as a metaphysical classification problem and try to import the ontological consideration of the 'other' to be subsumed within the individual's self-contained phenomenological constructions; then you still have the problem of the non-self--albeit at a 'sub-class' level. 


However, that self-contained 'sub-class' state of affairs admits only of logical contraries, while the metaphysical classification system you will have set up cannot move to the higher level of contradiction — except if the individual's consciousness and self-contained experience ceases. 


But since the individual can't know that experience — unless he experiences it ! — he's left with whether or not to conceptualize it.  (Sartre had a door marked 'No Exit.')  Not to conceptualize it — because he can't experience it — is a decision made on ontological grounds.  But that decision, even if not ontologically sensible, fails on logical grounds.  The failure is due to the weight of logically (illogically!) denying that capability of thought, which would allow a complementary class to enter the metaphysical arena for classification purposes. Blocking this complementary category would shut an extremely important 'door number 1' — one that would open the thinker to a contending category for the various routes of scientific observation and research (as these routes would be defined within the compass of meanings that are denoted by that category).  Hence, a logical mess.


Admittedly, any attempt to go to an explanation outside a given epistemic system raises the issue of a complementary class of meanings — one that usually has its own limits, if you try to ask, 'Well, how did things get started within that possible world ?"   So, it may look like one should avoid that route, shut tight that door, and 'reduce' to something like a self-contained system.  But I've stated above the problems with that approach !  


How about a reduction ?


While one theorist reduces to a self-experience base; another can reduce to a so-called 'objective' base and schew subjective experience.  Logically,  it's the same mess.  To stop the process of thought when it leads to contradiction is to create more of a problem than to admit antinomies.  The latter choice, though, does not 'kick the can down the road.'   It admits the existence of limits.  To ask how or 'who' started those limits is in the genre of substituting an historical account for a dynamic one — as I had previously described it.


Well, we may not agree, and I do appreciate the exchange. 


The exchange has taken a turn to broader considerations than my first set of comments intended.  I originally intended a set of comments that deals with the over-extended assumptions of constraining forms (schemata) within the cognitive linguistic model(s).  But my viewpoint is not exclusionary.  Schemata based on individual-environment inter-relation are, as far as I'm concerned, part of the picture.  But they are not as primary a part as are logical and para-logical forms.  To be sure, this argument requires a good deal of development.  However, at this point, I should leave that issue for those who may want to follow it up in my papers and my two most recent books.



Harwood Fisher
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